back to article Big Retail: We don't hate Apple, we hate the credit card companies

The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) went on a PR offensive on Wednesday to explain what happened in the hacking attack that saw its testers' emails exposed, why its member retailers banned Apple Pay and Google Wallet, and what makes its CurrentC mobile payment system so great. Dekkers Davidson, CEO of MCX, which represents 50 …

  1. frank ly Silver badge

    I don't fully understand this

    "... is that by linking the retailer directly to the bank, the seller also avoids paying credit card transaction fees."

    Isn't that just like a bank debit card? Except that you, the customer, are in charge of the payment with a bank debit card - so what is this about linking the retailer directly to your bank? I'll carry on paying with cash wherever I can.

    1. Tom Samplonius

      Re: I don't fully understand this

      "Isn't that just like a bank debit card?"

      No, a merchant still needs to deal with a payment processor to take bank debit cards, because it is impossible to be connected to every bank. These retailers want to be able to be paid directly. I have some sympathy for trying to avoid the constant drain imposed by the middle men. So basically these retailers want to connect to every bank, and provide all of the gateway services themselves.

      1. DougS Silver badge

        Re: I don't fully understand this

        What he's trying to say is that MCX members won't pay payment processing fees because MCX will BE a payment processor. However, being owned by its members, they won't pay transaction fees. They'll probably pay some sort of largish yearly membership fee that pays for its operation, which will keep it restricted to only large retailers.

        I wouldn't look for fraud prevention to be high on their priority list, since they'll be drawing directly from people's bank accounts they have little incentive to care. It'll be your problem, not theirs.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I don't fully understand this

          I've heard it bandied around card processing circles that processing fees are old hat.

          You could get more money per transaction by selling your users personal information, what with all that high quality transaction data...

          Maybe this is the start of the new wave.

  2. Mark 65 Silver badge

    "We have respect for Apple and Apple Pay," he said. "There is no harm in competition. It should happen. Consumers need to have choice, and we will put choice in consumer's hands. No one has a monopoly on virtue and consumer experience."

    He clearly misses the irony of talking about how good competition and choice is in response to a quesrtion about member organisations removing that consumer choice (blocking Apple Pay) in favour of a system that puts issues firmly in their court whilst also holding and tracking far too much information about them. Arsehole.

  3. Kevin Fairhurst

    Using a QR code image...

    If the CurrentC app shows a QR code image that is effectively your payment details, what is stopping me from taking a screengrab of the app, sending it to myself, and using that the next time I am down Walmart ? Given the lack of consumer protection from this, it makes it wide open for this kind of fraud!

    Hey, why bother doing this manually... just create a malicious android app that does it all for you...

    1. VinceH Silver badge

      Re: Using a QR code image...

      "If the CurrentC app shows a QR code image that is effectively your payment details,"

      I thought the idea was that the app scans QR codes on products, popping up information on screen (price, etc) and giving the user the option to make a payment. As such, it sounds (er... sounded?) marginally better for anyone worried about NFC-based systems leading to accidental payments - only marginally, though, because there would still be a risk through phone theft etc, so is still naff overall.

      If, however, it holds the user's payment details in a QR code that is presented to the retailer, then what you've described is a big security fail.

      But also, if that's how it works, I fail to see the need for a special app - and therefore why Windows Phone and Blackberry can't be supported: they're perfectly capable of displaying images!)

      Afterthought: Is it a one time QR code generated at the time the purchase is being made?

      1. Dr. Mouse Silver badge

        Re: Using a QR code image...

        Yes, the idea (as I understand it) is that a QR code is displayed at the till. This will probably be some kind of UID representing the individual transaction.

        The app will scan this QR, connect to the service over the internet, and authorise the retailer to pull money from their account for that transaction.

        I have to agree that I would worry about fraud. The bank won't take responsibility, as you have authorised CurrentC to take money from your bank account. Just as with Paypal, you would have to take the matter up with CurrentC and/or the retailer if a fraudulent transaction were to take place.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Using a QR code image...

          This sounds very clumsy and time consuming as opposed to using NFC or just swiping my card.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Using a QR code image...

      the qr code is unique for each transaction... translation it cannot be used twice as per your scheme.

    3. boo radley007

      Re: Using a QR code image...

      the qr code is unique for each transaction... translation it cannot be used twice as per your scheme.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for Plan B

    "The Merchant Customer Exchange (MCX) went on a PR offensive on Wednesday"

    A better approach might be to step out of the reality distortion field and fix CurrentC to at least the standard where it doesn't look like it was thought up by a nursery class for underachievers during their milk break - in its current form the idea is simply embarrassing. And while they're at it, kill the proposed in app ads.

  5. Gene Cash Silver badge

    "There is no harm in competition. It should happen"

    Two-faced lying sacks of shit.

    There's no fine, per se, but you're prohibited by MCX contract from supporting another payment method such as Apple Pay or Google Wallet. I'm sure there are monetary penalties in that contract, even if they're not called fines.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Time for the Fed to fix ALL CC Processing

    If there was ever any need to have the government get involved in anything, the ripoff of the consumer by banks and credit card companiesis one of the most obvious. Too bad politicians won't allow that.

    If you have a debit card there should be no "processing fee" because that debit card is the same as cash. You are effectively writing an electronic check each time you use the card. The Federal Reserve Banking system does the processing between banks for checks.

    Why not add debit card transactions between the vendor and the banks???

    Additional fees being applied to business to electronically access the Federal Banking system to reach your bank and deduct the money should not apply because the citizens of the US already paid for the system in the first place.

    1. Joel 1

      Re: Time for the Fed to fix ALL CC Processing

      "If you have a debit card there should be no "processing fee" because that debit card is the same as cash. You are effectively writing an electronic check each time you use the card."

      Sorry, what? Cash processing isn't free - businesses have to pay to deposit cash. This is why they started doing all the cash back offerings at the till - it allows them to deposit some cash for free, as the debit card charge is a fixed amount, so no marginal cost for doing a bigger transaction.

      Even electronic transactions often aren't free for businesses. Banks charge for all transactions, just less for an electronic one.

      The fact that consumers have "free banking" is a relatively recent phenomenon.

      Where credit card companies are prepared to sacrifice margin, they often do this via bribes (sorry, cashback) to the customer. Thus Amex do very good customer bribes, but charge high fees to retailers. So, customers want to use Amex, but retailers don't want to accept it. Small retail outlets often don't accept Amex at all.

  7. wikkity

    think this kind of activity is cool

    Or in more likelihood, profitable. It's probably more likely someone trying to commit fraud was hacking around than someone trying to do a cool hack.

  8. Jodo Kast

    Horribad writing...

    Paragraph 1 has nothing to do with Paragraph 2:

    P1: Davidson specifically denied a report in The New York Times that any MCX member who used an alternative payment system to CurrentC would face a heavy fine. The paper said it spoke to multiple members of the group who confirmed the arrangement, but Davidson insisted this was not the case.

    P2: "Merchants make their own choices about their commitment to MCX and make their own choices about other forms of payment," he said, adding that MCX members can also leave the organization at any time with no penalties.

    Translation: It is true that their relationship with CurrentC is exclusive, which has nothing to do with the fact that they could choose any additional payment vendors. Admit the exclusivity to CurrentC or don't but Paragraph 2 does not do that.

  9. KornDog

    Does cash still work?

    I don't want a "relationship" with all of the stores I shop at, and certainly do not want a dashboard in which I can manage this relationship.

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